I’m excited about this week’s post because I found some period photographs of example stations in their prime, so I can verify the brand along with what features are original. The image above shows a Humble branded station with a distinctive inward-slanted roof over an office made nearly of all glass. This station was possibly in Starkville.
These station were also branded as Enco or Esso stations. The phasing out of the Humble brand was begun in 1961 and was likely complete by 1973 when the Exxon branding was introduced.
This modernist Humble, Enco, or Esso station design of the c.1950s – c.1960s was succeeded by the Ranch design of the c.1960s – c.1970s we looked at last week in Pascagoula. This example below is in Meridian on Poplar Springs Drive. While one of the service bays has been covered over along with many of the office windows, it still gives a great visual of the inward-slanted roof over an office made nearly of all glass and the chevroned fascia.
The 2016 TxDOT Field Guide to Gas Stations in Texas further describes these Humble, Enco, and Esso stations of the c.1950-c.1960 era as:
Form: Oblong Box
• Two-part roof with higher roof over service bays
• Inward sloping roof over office is distinct feature of this type
• Concrete block exterior finish
• Detached butterfly canopy with angled metal poles or metal columns
• Service bays with glazed overhead sliding doors
• Single-entry door located between office/showroom windows and service bays, topped by transom
• Large, fixed display windows with metal frames and sloping transoms
• Modern style
The below newspaper clipping from the 1966 Greenville Delta Democrat Times shows some of the local station’s signage which would have been typical for other Humble stations. The italicized script Happy Motoring! on the building, usually above the service bays, and a block print HUMBLE hanging from the slanted roof’s soffit. Interestingly enough the Greenville station has an attached canopy that from what I can tell was somewhat rare. This canopy is attached to the building and carries the sloped roof out over one pump island. There is a second pump island that is covered by a smaller asymmetrical canopy covering three pumps. This smaller canopy was replaced by the larger canopy visible in the Google Street View image.
The footprint of the station is slightly different adjacent to the office. While possibly an addition, it might be additional bathrooms, as in 1963 the station only offered whites-only restrooms. I found two brief articles that mention Ronald Robert, a 35 year old African-American from Columbus, Ohio was arrested on the charge of “trespassing” when he used the whites-only restroom of this station.
There is another station of this form in Greenville. This second station is not only still a functioning gas station but it’s still an Exxon brand station, having successfully made the transition from Humble to Exxon. This is an example of the station without the attached canopy. A large modern canopy covering all the pumps has been added. The service bays have been filled in as the station no longer provides mechanic services, but has converted to offering convenience items.
Do you know of any other Humble, Enco, or Esso stations of this style in Mississippi?
Did you enjoy this post on a Mississippi Gas Station? Consider checking out these other “Friday is a Gas” posts.
- Friday is a Gas: Curbside Gas Pumps (c.1910-c.1925)
- Friday is a Gas: Gulf Gas Stations c.1920-c.1930
- Friday is a Gas: Pan Am/Amoco Stations c.1930-c.1940
- Friday is a Gas: Cities Service Stations c.1930 – c.1950
- Friday is a Gas: Teague & The Icebox (1937-c.1955)
- Friday is a Gas: Humble, Enco, Esso, and Exxon c.1960-c.1970
- The Matawan Texacos of Mississippi (1965-c.1975)